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Lifestyle & Human Interest

German Shepherd Chained His Entire Life Sees the Ocean for Very First Time

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Animal shelters are full of dogs and cats looking for new homes, but with all the competition in the cages around them, sometimes deserving critters don’t get noticed like they should.

It’s hard to tell how a dog will fit into your family when all you get is a short glimpse of their behavior in the stressful setting of a shelter, so there are many people who become ambassadors for individual pets, taking them out on adventures and learning a bit about them so they can advertise their positive qualities.

Rocky Kanaka is one of those ambassadors. Kanaka, who loves baking and rescue animals, has created a YouTube series called “Dog’s Day Out,” where he takes an adoptable dog out into society to bring awareness to its plight.

Some of Kanaka’s more popular videos feature Herschel, a German shepherd with a rough past who just needed someone to take a second look and give him a chance.

“Chained up and neglected in a backyard for much of his life, his teeth are whittled down from constant gnawing on the chains that held him captive,” Kanaka wrote on the dog’s web page.

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“Herschel, also called Bear, has been surrendered twice. Dogs chained up for long periods of time don’t learn the basic skills that those living in caring families learn. As a result some inexperienced owners become frustrated and give up.”

Herschel is a relatively young dog, but he kept scaring off prospective adopters because he is close to 100 pounds, a well-known protection breed and under-socialized.

So Kanaka decided to take him out for a spin and prove that he was, indeed, a good boy.

First, the two drove up to Big Bear, California, where Herschel got to experience snow (spoiler: he thinks it’s the best thing ever!).


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After burning off some energy and making some memories, they headed back to the warmth and crowds to offer hugs to passersby. Herschel sat next to three large, stuffed teddy bears, but all eyes were on him.

Next, the dog got to try some tasty treats, including a cake from a dog bakery. The video has been viewed more than half a million times on YouTube and got the German shepherd some notice. The Michelson Found Animals rescue was flooded with adoption applications.

Have you ever taken a dog to the beach?

But before Herschel went to a forever home, Kanaka decided to give the adorable pup one more new experience on his way to his new owner: a trip to the beach!

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The dog seemed fairly normal at first, but as soon as he spotted the waves crashing, he started scream-whining. He was clearly excited and as soon as they got down to the water, Herschel made it very clear that he was actually a water dog.

If he hadn’t been pulled out of the surf, he might not have ever gone back to dry land!

Thankfully, a woman named Kim took a shine to the massive fluff and invited him into her home for good. Now Herschel has a warm home, German shepherd “siblings” and acres of land to run on.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking